Why do juvenile Emperor Angels look so different compared to their adults markings/colors?

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I was wondering if someone knows the evolutionary reason(s) behind why juvenile emperor angels look so different when compared to their adult versions. I have had a juvenile emperor for the last 5 months now and it’s just starting to show some whitening of its upper fin. It’s so fascinating to watch it start it’s transformation phase.

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lapin

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Im going to say a lot has to do with camouflage and where they live as juveniles. Once they grow out they are able to fend off predators and move into channels and deeper water where they can find more sponges ect...
 
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Dcal

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I thought it was bc they dont want the established adults of the same species going after them bc they see them as a mating threat, and then as they grow and become able to hold their own against other adults they transition.

however I have no citation here so hopefully someone backs me up or proves it wrong
 
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Dcal

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All of the large angels go through a similar transition. I have also read that it provides the smaller fish a better chance at survival given the territorial nature of the adults. Adults will generally not bother the Juvi's.
yay i was right ig lol
 
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As has been stated here by many, I like the theory that the distinct markings of the Juvenile emperor gives it a better chance at survival. But here is the main question .... what specifically is the significance of the juveniles’ markings that enables them to have a higher chance at survival?

Here is what I think .... wonder how many of you agree or disagree with me on this.

In reference to the attached picture where I have shown the enlarged tail section of a juvenile emperor (relevant markings are colored), if you look at the circular patterns near its tail, specially if you let your eye go a little out of focus, a big fish eye with a big pupil in the middle of it emerges. Since juvenile emperors live a solitary life, when they are hiding in a rock with their tail sticking out, this area of the tail section resembles a big fish eye, which gives the other fish the false impression that a much larger fish is in the rocks, so they stay clear of the juvenile, which gives it a better odds of survival as potential predators don’t get too close. As the juvenile grows and can protect itself better, the markings go away.

Where I can’t reconcile the above hypothesis in my head is the fact that if having markings that resemble a false eye of a much larger fish is such a great and advantageous trait to keep larger predator fish away, then why does it go away with time? Why didn’t the evolution process keep or even further enhance this characteristic “false eye” to protect the emperor throughout its entire life against larger predators? Why are the markings and coloring of adult emperor angels more advantageous to its survival than its juvenile markings to prompt the change? Any thoughts?
 

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Dcal

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Youre definitely on to something and please keep us updated in your search.

But, to me, the most important reason they are able to survive is that their coloration looks absolutely nothing like the adult
 
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NashobaTek

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Good question, I know that with the juvenile colors of a couple of the platax ( batfish ) species....
Pinnatus resembles a toxic flat worm and the orbics resembles a dead mangrove leaf, but as adults they look nothing like the juvenile form.
 
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